Golfito (literally 'little gulf') is a port town located in Golfo Dulce, on Costa Rica's southern Pacific Coast, and close to the border with Panama. The town is on a narrow strip of land, in-between a hill and the famous Golfito Bay. It consists of the town proper, a shopping area to the south, and a residential area located by the port. Further north are located an airstrip and a duty-free zone.
In the middle of the 20th century, Golfito was an important banana growing region, which resulted in it being the primary port of southern Costa Rica. However, a combination of rising export taxes, declining foreign markets, banana disease and worker unrest led to closing of United Fruit Company in 1985. Palm oil plantations replaced the old banana plantations. Today, due to its success, even more land is devoted to grow palm. In the mid-1990s, a small flow of tourists started to arrive and by the middle of 2006 sport fishing became prime tourist attraction. Deposito Libre Comercial de Golfito (Duty Free Shopping Centre) attracts shoppers from other regions of Costa Rica, helping local hospitality business.
Even during tide fluctuation (which averages about 3 m /9 feet) calm water provides for lots of peaceful tourist activities. The beaches in the area are some of the most beautiful in Costa Rica. The town offers yachting and boating services, small marinas, sport fishing, as well as a destination for cruise ships. Much of tourist activities in Golfito area focus on sport fishing industry. Many of the hotels and lodges have their own sport fishing fleet and boat captains. Boating, yachting, beach activities and water sports are also exciting pastimes. The beaches situated south of Golfito, Pilon, Pavones and Playa Zancudo, offer excellent surfing. Safe water approach makes Golfito a relaxing place to stop and check in/out of Costa Rica when cruising.
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